Job 5 Study Notes


5:1 The call-answer motif often expresses intimacy of fellowship between God and the believer (14:15; Is 65:24; Jr 33:3) and God’s availability in times of distress (Jb 13:20-22; Ps 86:5-7; 102:1-2). Eliphaz told Job not to expect help from the holy ones. The need for a mediator is an important theme in Job (9:33; 16:19-20; 19:25).

5:2-7 Rather than being angry or resentful, Job should realize that trouble is part of the cycle of human life. The Hebrew word for sparks (lit “sons of flame” or “sons of Resheph”) may contain an allusion to Resheph, the Canaanite god of pestilence and plague, reinforcing the inevitability of natural disasters.

5:8 Eliphaz advised Job to do the very thing he wanted to do.

5:9-16 This is a hymn of praise, possibly used in an ancient worship ceremony.

5:17 The rendering here of the Almighty (Hb Shaddai) represents a derivation from a verbal root known both in Hebrew and Akkadian indicating overpowering force. Other lexicographers suggest a literal meaning: “Destroyer” or “(God of) the Mountain.”

5:18 Eliphaz suggested that Job was in need of divine discipline, so he should bear his condition happily (Pr 1:2,7; 3:11-12; 23:12). Then God would bless him again with peace, prosperity, and a large family (Jb 5:18-26). For Eliphaz, as for Job, the evidence of personal piety was seen in God’s external blessings.


Hebrew pronunciation [mah AHS]
CSB translation reject, despise
Uses in Job 11
Uses in the OT 74
Focus passage Job 5:17

Ma’as implies a dismissive evaluation and often involves contempt. It frequently occurs with near synonyms like “abhor” (ga‘al, Lv 26:43), “despise” (na’ats, Is 5:24), or “spurn” (zanach, Ps 89:38). Antonyms include “choose” (bachar, Is 41:9) and “trust” (batach, Is 30:12). Israel tended to reject God (1Sm 8:7), his instruction (Jr 6:19), and his land (Nm 14:31). In return God rejected Israel (Ps 78:59). The pattern was rejection of God’s word followed by God rejecting the offender (1Sm 15:26). When God rejected, he might abandon (Jr 7:29). Ma’as denotes renounce, refuse, and dismiss (Jb 9:21; 30:1; 31:13). Despising cities is comparable to disregarding human life (Is 33:8); rejection can be murderous (Jr 4:30). Ma’as can imply giving up on life (Jb 7:16), rejecting words (Jb 42:6), or despising oneself (Pr 15:32). Occasionally it indicates good human behavior such as refusing what is bad or illegal (Is 7:16; 33:15).

5:19 The parallel use of six and seven is an example of a Semitic literary device in which a number and the next higher number are used to indicate indefiniteness. Where a definite number is intended, it is always the second one and the details are spelled out (Pr 30:18-19,21-23,29-31; Am 1:3-2:8).

5:20-26 Eliphaz told Job that the man who walked with God would be blessed with long life, security, peace, many descendants, and vigor even in old age.

5:27 Eliphaz exhorted Job to apply the tested and true principles Eliphaz had just applied to Job’s condition. In so doing Job would understand why God was disciplining him and be able to bear it profitably (v. 17).